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Performance, usability, browsing intent and more: some simple tips to increase users’ stay on the site

Bounce rate ( bounce rate ) and output rate ( exit rate ) are metrics Google Analytics to be interpreted very carefully. The careful analysis of these values ​​in relation to one or more pages of your site allows you to answer questions such as:

  • Does the content respond effectively to users’ expectations?
  • Are there any elements that can be improved within the page (s) that can increase the permanence of users on the site?

Before giving you some advice on how to reduce bounce and exit rates , let’s see more clearly what these metrics identify.

Bounce rate vs. exit rate: what are they?

The official Google Analytics guide defines the two metrics as follows:

  1. the output rate (exit rate) indicates the percentage of how many times that page was the ‘ last in the session ;
  2. The bounce rate (bounce rate) indicates the percentage of how many times that page was the ‘ only appears in the session .

So, if the user lands on a page (starting the session) and exits that same page (without having viewed any others) then he will have given rise to a “bounce” and, at the same time, to an “exit”. If instead the user lands on a page, changes page and then exits, he will only have generated an “exit” on the last page viewed.

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Reducing the bounce rate and exit rate means providing the user with a better browsing experience , which consequently can lead to an increase in the time spent on the site (with all the resulting advantages). Here are some tips to achieve this!


  1. Browsing intent: why REALLY meet user expectations?

It doesn’t matter if the user lands on a site following a Google search, or after clicking on an ad on Instagram. In any case, every time a user accesses a page on the site, he has expectations . If these expectations are not met, the user feels lost and, after a quick scan of the page, leaves the site without taking any action. Here then is increasing the exit rate and bounce rate.


How to identify and resolve critical issues? Analytics in hand, it is necessary, first of all, to find out which pages are characterized by a high bounce rate :

  • in the “Site Contents> All Pages” section, apply “Default Channel Grouping” as a secondary dimension (or, for even more precise data, “Source / Medium”);
  • also apply an advanced filter in order to analyze only the pages that have had a sufficient number of views for a quality analysis;
  • sort pages by “Bounce Rate” descending.

Now, think about the expectations that the user had created before landing on each of the pages to be analyzed. This type of reasoning must take particular account of the channel .

  • Organic search : what are the queries that brought traffic to the page under analysis? What was the real research intent behind it? Does the content effectively fulfill this intent?
  • Paid Search : Similarly, what are the queries that are intercepted through paid ads ? Are these keywords that are too general and perhaps have no bearing on the content of the target page?
  • Social : has the page linked by Facebook been presented in such a way as to make users understand that they will find a certain type of content?
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… and so on. If you are sure that the abandonment is not related to a failure to meet expectations, then probably the reason why the user leaves the page depends on other problems.

  1. Performance: Why is it important for a page to load quickly?

It is now known that most online users abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to show a first rendering of the most relevant content ( 57% of users are talking about ). The loading speed of a web page is a relevant factor in terms of SEO positioning and conversions :

  • from July 2018, with the Google Speed ​​Update , the loading time is officially a ranking factor. Poor performance means lower rankings and, therefore, less organic traffic;
  • the fact that, in the event of poor performance, on average 57% of users leave the page, inevitably leads to a decrease in the number of conversions, as well as an increase in the bounce rate .

Identify the pages on Analytics that are characterized by having high bounce rates and exit rates , then study their loading times in the section “Behavior> Site speed” or through tools such as Lighthouse or Web Page Test . Maybe the reason for a very high bounce rate lies simply in the presence of uncompressed images on the page.

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  1. UX / UI: why is it important to think about user experience and layout?

Let’s say that the pages you are analyzing meet user expectations and have normal loading times.

What if the problem was related to a bad structure of the contents and navigation elements ? This type of problem is more frequent than you think, and leads users to leave a page because, simply, complex navigation requires more intellectual effort than you are willing to do. The result, in similar cases, is an increase in the dropout rate.

Study, if possible with the help of a usability expert, the interaction of users with the page and find out if the calls to action entered are clicked, if the navigation from one page to another occurs smoothly, etc.

You can use a tool like HotJar which, in addition to recording the user’s navigation on the site, also allows you to create heat maps capable of revealing “little used” areas of the page and therefore potentially improving.


  1. Related contents: why is it important to convey the user to internal pages?

Another simple method to extend the user’s navigation on the site consists in the implementation of an internal link system able to provide relevant insights.

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Careful management of categories and tags greatly simplifies the management of related content, both in the case of editorial projects and on e-commerce. It is necessary to put yourself in the user’s shoes, understand his interests and consider both his navigation purpose and the channel used to navigate to the page.

Only in this way will it be possible to highlight links to certain contents instead of others. Do you want to make life easier for users? If you have a section dedicated to related content or products , insert a short excerpt that allows you to characterize each page, thus arousing interest in clicking.


  1. Pop-ups and ads: why should they be avoided?

There are elements that can cause a lot of annoyance to the user’s navigation:

  • pop-ups that appear immediately after loading the page;
  • music background;
  • advertisements that are irrelevant or that interrupt the fluidity of the content.

Evaluate the real usefulness of these elements and, if possible, remove them or at least set them so as to disturb navigation as little as possible.

By following these tips you will be able to significantly reduce the abandonment rate on your site and ensure a higher quality browsing experience , which further optimization work will help to transform into greater conversions. Try it too!

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